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Quick answer
"Empezar" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to begin", and "servir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to serve". Learn more about the difference between "empezar" and "servir" below.
empezar(
ehm
-
peh
-
sahr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to commence)
a. to begin
La nueva temporada de mi serie favorita empieza en un mes.The new season of my favorite show begins in a month.
b. to start
La palabra "serpiente" empieza con ese.The word "serpiente" begins with an s.
2. (to originate)
a. to start
La pelea empezó en la calle.The fight started in the street.
3. (to start out; used with "por" plus infinitive)
a. to begin by
Quiero empezar por decirte lo mucho que aprecio todo lo que has hecho.I want to begin by saying how much I appreciate what you've done.
b. to start by
Quiero empezar por darles la bienvenida esta noche.I'd like to start by welcoming you this evening.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
4. (to commence)
a. to start
Ya es hora de empezar el examen.It's time to start the exam now.
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servir(
sehr
-
beer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (culinary)
a. to serve
Van a servir lomo de puerco en la boda.They're going to serve pork loin at the wedding.
2. (to attend to)
a. to serve
Esta compañía sirve a clientes de todo el mundo.This company serves customers around the world.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to have a purpose)
a. to be used for
Esta máquina sirve para coser.This machine is used for sewing.
4. (to function as)
a. to serve as
Sirve de ejemplo para los demás.He serves as an example for others.
5. (to work as a servant)
a. to be in service
Trabajó sirviéndoles años antes de empezar su propia carrera.He had been in their service for years before starting his own career.
6. (military)
a. to serve
Mi tío sirvió en las fuerzas armadas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.My uncle served in the armed forces during World War II.
servirse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to make use of something)
a. to use
Me serví de una pala para cavar un agujero.I used a shovel to dig a hole.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
8. (to serve oneself)
a. to help oneself
Sírvanse lo que gusten del bufet.Help yourselves to anything from the buffet.
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